Greetings from South Africa! It’s been a while since my last post as Emily, Chris and I are currently in the middle of a massive road trip across this great country! It’s been an amazing experience so far!
It’s that time of year again, and the Six Nations is very nearly upon us! I might be in a different hemisphere right now, but I’m every bit as excited to see the tournament get started this weekend!
Scotland v Ireland is first up, and with Glasgow in such great form, I believe we’ll see Scotland take the spoils at Murrayfield. Many point to Ireland’s superb autumn campaign – which included a first ever win over the All Blacks – as an indication of things to come, with lots of pundits believing they could steal England’s crown come Round 5. This will be a huge contest on Saturday, a close affair I think, but I’m backing Scotland.
England host France in Saturday’s second game. Tickenham will be absolutely bouncing, and despite signs that France are beginning to rediscover their flair, I predict England to comfortably triumph at this early stage. England were just superb in the November series, and will certainly take some stopping in this year’s tournament. Only Wales and Ireland – both of whom England play away from home – will, I believe, pose the greatest threat to England’s title hopes.
Wales pay against Italy in Rome on Sunday afternoon. This will be an intriguing encounter. Both sides had reasonable autumn campaigns, although Wales’ style of play, and the pretty dour manner of their three November victories, left critics pulling their hair out. Alun Wyn Jones has taken the captaincy from Sam Warburton, and his direct approach could be just what Wales need. Wales fans want to see fast, flowing, attacking rugby in this tournament, and with the introduction of bonus points for scoring four or more tries, this is perhaps an important game in which to start as they mean to go on. Having registered in excess of 60 points over the Italians in their last two Six Nations encounters, Wales will probably not lack in confidence going to Rome. However, they will be aware that, under the new coaching set-up of ex-Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea, Italy may be better drilled and more organised than in recent seasons. Let’s not forget the Italians, like Wales, beat the Springboks in November, and I think they have the potential to cause one or two upsets this term.
My overall prediction is that England will retain their Six Nations title, although I don’t think they will complete a clean sweep this year.
Let battle commence!